“I want to do more,” he told Furiosa. He was standing without a crutch and without wobbling, but she could see how he still listed, still learning how to shift his weight onto his new metal leg.
Her missing hand ached a bit as she looked at him, ghost fingers curling. Even though they spent most of their days in the garage together, she hadn’t seen much of Nux - They were both too deep in the cars to do much more than pass tools and parts. She was proud of him in a way that she tried to dampen, so she just gave him an abrupt nod. “Yeah. So where are you gonna start?”
“Fighting, guns - defense only,” he added quickly. “Rifle, maybe snipe, for scouting. How to get out fast, how to take the other guy down before he does it to you.”
“Not how to do war,” he insisted. He leaned to the other side, over compensating, and had to take a step to balance himself. “But how to stay safe. And maybe win - or at least not lose. And that’s all right, right? They should know. And if I can do it, they can too. And they’ll be better, all black thumbs over their chrome.”
“Yeah,” she said again.
“Especially Capable,” he couldn’t help but add and then looked even more satisfied.
The brand on the back of her neck itched and she ran her callused fingers over it, then up into the bristles of her hair. The scars she’d picked up on Fury Road were almost gone already, pink lines fading like the whole thing had been a dream after all. Furiosa didn’t exactly sigh, but she exhaled a breath that seemed to come from some deep, dark place in her chest. She’d always been focused on the immediate - the road right ahead of her - and faced with options and ideas and possibilities, she felt like she was jammed in the mud again, with wheels spinning and not enough gas to get out. She might’ve mused on it more, now that she had the time to, but she caught him staring, waiting, with his big eyes wide. So she started her brain back into motion as she considered in earnest his suggestion - running over routines, remembering what she’d been taught and what she had had to learn on her own. “Defensive fighting first, then guns. They’ll need to be strong enough for the kick-backs.”
He nodded eagerly and she continued, engine finally running clear, “Don’t waste energy. Stick with basics: the stance, dodging, where to hit. After that, loading guns, any you can get your hands on. Then easy targets. Get the Milk Mothers, too.”
“Yes, Imperator!” he responded and straightened under her orders, a reflex that he hadn’t routed yet.
“You can handle it?”
Nux nodded again even as he started tilting. This time Furiosa was faster than him and she grabbed his arm with her mechanic hand to pull him upright. Without the white paint, she could see him flush - good, type O-negative, high-octane blood still in his veins - and he stammered something apologetic. “Never shiny but I’m not rusted yet. Fixed.”
“You weren’t broken,” she said and he shook his head, but he stayed silent when she glared. War Boys, she thought - They barely lived out their half lives, but here he was. Here she was. Not fixed, but better.
She hadn’t let go of him, although he’d steadied himself, and with an anxious-to-please expression he raised his own hand and clasped it over the bars and tubes of her wrist. He waited for her to shake him off and when she didn’t, he said quietly, “I’ll follow you, Furiosa. And not because I have to.”
And then, like he had before, he added an after-thought. “After Capable. She comes first.”
She snorted and released him, and Nux practically danced backwards. “I never was a lancer, but I’ll do it for them.”
Walking he did fine. Better at moving than he was at rest - That was a War Boy trait, beaten into them from their War Pup days. He was halfway down the hallway when she called out to him again, “Nux! How come you aren’t teaching them to drive?”
She could see his grin through the dusty lighting. “Gonna for Capable! She’ll be my driver and I’ll be hers, and she’ll lead your Citadel wherever you want. She’s a beacon, she’s a light in the dark like - like a nitro flame!”
“Front seat only sits two. And she needs to learn the engine, plugs, me and her under the hood.”
“Smeg. You teach ‘em all - Anyone who wants to learn.”
“Yes, Imperator.” His reply came prompt enough but the smile was gone.
“Smeg,” she said again. “Fine, Capable first. But then all of ‘em.”
He clasped his hands together - a v8 engine in her honor - before disappearing into the dark. She rubbed the back of her neck again and then returned to her tools. Cars, bikes, trucks - The whole fleet needed work, from the wheels up. They needed a rig first, that was obvious. The two spares weren’t half the rigs that hers had been. There were a thousand other things that needed to be done - ten thousand other things, a million other things - but at least this time she wasn’t doing it alone.